Astros fire GM Wade and president Smith

Published On: Nov 28 2011 12:03:55 AM CST   Updated On: Nov 28 2011 07:08:33 AM CST
HOUSTON -

The new Astros ownership team of Jim Crane and President/CEO George Postolos are making swift changes as they indicated they would last week.  Sunday night, the team announced that they are relieving general manager Ed Wade and president of baseball operations Tal Smith of their duties, effective immediately.    

Statement from George Postolos:

"With the change in ownership, we would like a fresh start in baseball operations. We have told Ed Wade and Tal Smith that we are making a change. We recognize their dedication to the Houston Astros. We thank each of them for their significant contributions and many years of service to the Astros, and wish them our very best as they pursue new opportunities.

"The search for a new General Manager begins immediately. We are searching for a candidate who has the knowledge, skills and experience to build a winner and a strong commitment to player development in order to sustain success. Our goal is to consistently compete for a championship, and we know the first step towards that goal is to develop one of the top farm systems in baseball. We will hire the best candidate available to achieve our goal.

"Our Assistant General Manager Dave Gottfried will serve as Interim General Manager until the new General Manager is hired. Dave is not a candidate for the permanent position."

"With the change in ownership, we would like a fresh start in baseball operations. We have told Ed Wade and Tal Smith that we are making a change. We recognize their dedication to the Houston Astros. We thank each of them for their significant contributions and many years of service to the Astros, and wish them our very best as they pursue new opportunities.?

"The search for a new General Manager begins immediately. We are searching for a candidate who has the knowledge, skills and experience to build a winner and a strong commitment to player development in order to sustain success. Our goal is to consistently compete for a championship, and we know the first step towards that goal is to develop one of the top farm systems in baseball. We will hire the best candidate available to achieve our goal.

"Our Assistant General Manager Dave Gottfried will serve as Interim General Manager until the new General Manager is hired. Dave is not a candidate for the permanent position."

The moves come less than a week after the sale of the team from Drayton McLane to Crane was officially completed last Tuesday, a transaction that requires the franchise to move from the NL Central to the AL West in 2013.

Wade was hired in September 2007 after spending the previous two years as a professional scout for the San Diego Padres. He was the general manager of the Philadelphia Phillies from 1998 until he was fired after the 2005 season.

The Astros made a 13-game improvement in Wade's first season as general manager and finished 86-75. But that would be their only winning season under Wade as they won 74 games in 2009 and 76 in 2010 before posting this year's franchise-worst mark of 56-106.

In the last two years, Wade traded away stars such Lance Berkman, Michael Bourn, Roy Oswalt and Hunter Pence for mostly young prospects, saying he had "inherited a pretty barren farm system" that he had to replenish.

Smith, who has been team president since 1994, has spent more than 50 years as a baseball executive and more than 30 of those years have been with the Astros. He worked for the franchise in its first season in 1962 when the team was known as the Houston Colt .45s and remained in Houston until 1972.

He spent some time working for the Yankees before returning as general manager of the Astros from 1975-80.

Smith's input was key in the development of both the Astrodome and Minute Maid Park. A small hill in center field at Minute Maid Park is known as Tal's Hill as a nod to his work on the project.